This article is part of a larger series on Small Business Websites.
WordPress is free open-source software, but that doesn’t mean WordPress costs nothing. A WordPress site requires a domain name and web hosting with premium themes and plugins costing a few dollars to hundreds extra per month. As a result, a WordPress website costs $50 to $300 to build and maintain it yourself, or $400 to $10,000-plus for professional web development plus the cost of hosting and domain registration.
WordPress is the most popular website content management system (CMS), but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option for your business website. In fact, there are a number of website services for startup and small businesses that are often more beginner-friendly and affordable in the long run. Check out our full list of the best WordPress alternatives.
WordPress Costs at a Glance
Free* or $15
$3 to $25+
Free or ~$50+
Free or $10,000+
Plugins & Add-ons
Free or paid; cost varies widely
Varies: one-time, monthly, or annually
*Many web hosting plans come with a free domain name.
1. WordPress Website Domain Costs
All business websites use a custom domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.com). So if you don’t already have one, you will need to purchase one from a domain name registrar like Google Domains, IONOS, or GoDaddy, for around $12 per year.
Alternatively, you can get a free domain name through a web hosting plan, such as with Bluehost or an email hosting plan from IONOS. These are services you are likely to need anyway for your WordPress site to be available online.
Here are three top domain name registrars:
- Google Domains: Best overall domain name registrar with transparent and competitively priced domains for around $12 per year.
- Hover: Best for buying domains in bulk (e.g., buying domain variations or your domain with various domain extensions).
- Bluehost: Best way to get a free domain name for those who plan to use WordPress to build their site. WordPress requires web hosting, and its web hosting plans start at $2.95 per month inclusive of a free domain.
2. Cost of WordPress Website Hosting
For a website to be accessible to the public, site files must be stored on a hosting server, accessible via a domain name such as www.yourbusiness.com. There are many providers that offer this service. Costs generally range from $3 to $25 per month, depending on a variety of factors and features—from storage and bandwidth limits to extras, such as a free domain name, business email, and an SSL certificate.
Here are the best WordPress hosting providers for small businesses:
- DreamHost: Best WordPress web hosting provider for unlimited sites, storage, bandwidth, and emails on your domain starting from $2.95 per month, and plans come with a free WordPress website builder.
- Bluehost: Best for businesses and startups building a new website as plans come with everything you need to quickly build, launch, and maintain a business website, including a drag-and-drop site builder, for as low as $2.95 per month.
There’s a lot to web hosting, and plans vary greatly in price, service, and quality. Make sure you choose dedicated WordPress hosting and take the time to understand what each provider has to offer by reading up on the best web hosting companies.
3. Cost of WordPress Themes
WordPress websites are built on themes, which serve as templates. While you can choose from dozens of free themes, thousands of premium themes (ranging from $29 to $79-plus) are available from WordPress and third-party developers.
Businesses opt for premium themes because they often feature more professional design and added functionality, requiring fewer customizations, and therefore less time to build.
- Free WordPress themes: $0
- Premium WordPress themes: Around $29 to $79-plus
4. WordPress Website Design Costs
As the site creator and business owner, you can handle the website design yourself, or you can also outsource it to a professional web designer. DIY site design is common—even for those with no technical knowledge—and is free. On the other hand, hiring a professional designer will ensure that you’ll have a professional and attractive site, but it can cost you thousands of dollars.
Let’s take a look at WordPress web design costs by build type:
- Do it yourself (DIY): Typically, zero cost, but there may be expenses involved with building your own site (e.g., if you choose to use a premium page builder plugin, such as Elementor for $49).
- Hire a professional: Ranges greatly from $400 to $10,000-plus, depending on a variety of factors from who you hire to build it to your site requirements.
On the fence between doing it yourself and hiring a web designer? Check out the detailed breakdown on DIY vs professional to help make you make the decision.
5. Cost of WordPress Website Plugins
WordPress sites depend on plugins for additional functionality—from website security, search engine optimization (SEO), and analytics to ecommerce features, web forms, and appointment booking. While many are free, getting advanced or niche features often requires the purchase of premium plugins ranging anywhere from $5 to $100 a month or more. Also, not all are on a monthly cost basis; some plugins require annual prepayment or a one-time licensing fee.
Here’s how much some of the most popular WordPress plugins cost:
- Jetpack: Free; premium extensions cost from around $10 to $99 per month
- Akismet: Free; premium for $10 to $250 per month
- Yoast SEO: Free; premium for $99 per year
- Elementor: Free; premium starting at $49 annually
- MonsterInsights: Free; premium plans starting at $199 per year
Want to know more about the cost of plugins you might need? Read our list of the top WordPress tips and tricks.
Top WordPress Alternatives to Consider
WordPress’ pricing structure makes it easy to think that it is the lowest cost option, which is one of the reasons it is so popular. The other reason is the wide variety of available plugins and design options make the platform easy to customize. However, this versatility also makes it more difficult to use, increases data security risks and potential for downtime, and can make you dependent on third-party contractors to keep your small business website up-to-date.
The top alternatives that address these issues include:
$14 per month*
$6.99 per month**
$16 per month*
*Billed annually; monthly billing is also available at a higher cost
**With annual billing the first year; renews at a higher rate
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between WordPress & Weebly?
While WordPress and Weebly are both platforms for building a website, they are very different platforms. WordPress requires some technical ability, whereas Weebly is an all-in-one host and site builder with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. Weebly makes it very easy for those with no web design experience to build a professional website, and robust ecommerce features are included beginning with the 100% free plan. Read our Weebly review to learn more.
Is WordPress free with Bluehost?
Bluehost is a WordPress-recommended web hosting provider that includes free, one-click WordPress installations and updates in every web hosting plan. WordPress is free to use for all users, but Bluehost hosting plans come with a number of added features, such as a free domain (a $12 value), a free SSL certificate (about a $25 value), and free email addresses on your domain. This makes Bluehost a great value for those building a new website on WordPress.
How do you build a WordPress website?
While building a website using WordPress is relatively easy, it does require several steps. For example, you have to get web hosting, install WordPress, pick a theme, and customize your site’s content and styling—all before building web pages for your site. For step-by-step guidance, read our article on how to make a WordPress website.
Having a WordPress website can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars upfront and each year. So if you’re new to web design and looking for an affordable way to build a professional website, consider making your life easier by choosing an all-in-one website builder, such as Squarespace. You can try it out for free, and once you’re ready to go live, it’s just one flat monthly fee of $12 for everything.